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Chen Lei Zhang

SFU Student Undergraduate
Beedie School of Business › Marketing | Beedie School of Business › Management Information Systems
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op, Study Abroad


Benefits of the EDI IMA and Global Skills Opportunity (GSO)

Compared to traveling, studying abroad is more costly due to the variety of expenses you would need to pay for at least one semester. As I didn’t apply for the scholarships available early on during the exchange application phase, I was thankful that I was given another funding opportunity through the EDI IMA Award. The EDI IMA Award has lessened the overall financial burden I would have needed to participate in the study abroad program. Going on exchange is an amazing opportunity for students to study at their chosen institution abroad and explore all that their destination has to offer. That’s why it would be regrettable for the students wanting to experience this, but may be limited by financial means. Likewise with myself, I was able to study abroad and enjoy my time at my destination without having to worry as much about the substantial costs that came with the trip. Overall, I believe that the EDI IMA provides a valuable funding option for underrepresented students (low-income, students with disabilities, or Indigenous students) who may struggle to prepare for their trip. 

Personal and Academic Reflections

This opportunity was really meaningful to me as I’ve never had the opportunity to stay in Korea for more than a few weeks of vacation time. It’s the first time that I am also getting to meet new people here and make friends with them while exploring what my host university (Yonsei) and the city of Seoul have to offer. I chose Seoul as my destination because of my familiarity with it and the culture, but also because I’ve never got to finish exploring the city. There are always endless lists of things you can do and places you can explore, as well as the special privileges you can have in being a S.K.Y. student. For example, I attended the Yon-Ko game festival which was finally held for the first time in three years after COVID. It’s a well-known nationwide event where the two rivals, Yonsei University, and Korea University, battle off their school pride in official sports games. This was something you could only truly experience while being a Yonsei or KU student. For non-domestic students, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Academically, I am also taking a class that piqued my interest rather than being a class that simply requires me to take the course. In the class (Product and Service Innovation), we learn about the macro outlooks and theories in developing an innovation. The final project requires us to conceptualize a new product or service innovation that could translate into a solution for a viable issue. My team and I are currently developing a solution to help with the daily struggles of those who are severely visually impaired and/or blind. I would say this is one of the most adventurous and meaningful projects that I’ve got a chance to work on in business school.